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BBC Monitoring Americas
Caribbean: Blue Flag Clean Environmental Certification Campaign Begins
October 9, 2004
Text of report by Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) news agency on 8 October
Bridgetown, Barbados: A prestigious international symbol of environmental management and safety standards will be displayed in the Caribbean for the first time beginning in November.
The Blue Flag international jury has approved the launch of the first official Blue Flag campaign season in the Caribbean at nine beaches and three marinas.
The Blue Flag campaign is a voluntary certification scheme for beaches and marinas that adhere to key criteria for water quality, environmental education, environmental management and safety and services.
"This approval by the international jury is a vote of confidence in the Caribbean's outstanding ability to adopt a highly effective, European certification programme and adapt it to suit our conditions," said Karen Ford-Warner, acting secretary-general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
CTO is an integral and active member of the Caribbean Blue Flag Consortium established in September 2002 to oversee the implementation of the programme in the Caribbean.
The other members of the consortium are the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) and the Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA).
"Beaches and marinas are key assets of the Caribbean tourism product and the region's involvement in the Blue Flag programme is one of the many avenues that we pursue in our relentless drive at product development," Mrs Ford-Warner added.
The Blue Flag International Jury approved the applications for Blue Flag certification from marinas in the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. It also approved applications for beaches in Jamaica and Puerto Rico,
"Blue Flag certification means that not only will beach users benefit from high environmental and quality standards, but the countries stand to gain significantly from the positive attention that certification will bring in the marketplace, particularly in Europe where Blue Flag has become a well known and recognized symbol for tourists and tour operators," added Mercedes Silva, CTO's sustainable tourism specialist.
The inaugural season of the Blue Flag Campaign in the Caribbean is scheduled to begin in November 2004 and ends in October 2005.
The Blue Flag Campaign is owned and run by the non-governmental, non-profit organization "Foundation for Environmental Education" (FEE), which has been operating in Europe since 1987 and South Africa since 2001.
The CTO said that the campaign has proven to be an effective environmental management tool, particularly for water quality standards, safety standards and awareness through environmental education.